So, you’re a skeptic. You’d much rather pump yourself full of ibuprofen, do some minimal stretching, and bare the pain rather than try any sort of “alternative” medicine to heal your outdoor induced ailments. Welp, I would say “more power to you” except I’m not really into enabling outdoor enthusiasts and athletes to power through pain and shovel down pills. That being said, please allow me to suggest another option: Acupuncture.
Now, wait just a minute! (You might be shouting)…I’m not allowing some whack-job, voodoo doctor to shove needles in my body. Fair enough. But have you ever really researched acupuncture, its benefits, and how it could work for you? If not, then look no further as I happily break it down for you by answering your questions, addressing your concerns, and pointing you in the eastern direction of alternative medicine.
What the Heck Is It, Anyway?
Acupuncture is one of the most ancient, practiced, and effective forms of medicine in the world. This treatment began thousands of years ago in China and, some believe, was first used to heal soldiers who has been wounded in battle. Needles are placed in various points of the body to correct the flow of energy and to stimulate the various “meridians” to promote pain relief and healing. The United States National Institute of Health endorses acupuncture as a legitimate and effective means of treatment for certain conditions.
Will it Hurt?
Depends on your overall tolerance for pain and your definition of “Ouch, that hurts!” Coming from someone who does not enjoy pain (in the slightest) and cries over a paper cut, acupuncture involves very little pain or discomfort. Most of the time, you can’t even feel the needles penetrating your skin, as they are extremely tiny and acupuncturists are trained to place them painlessly.
Is it Covered by Insurance and is it Expensive?
The answer to this question is both “yes” and “no.” Some health insurance companies have started covering acupuncture while others still do not recognize it. If you’re paying out-of-pocket, acupuncture can be expensive (often running between $60-$120 per session); however, it behooves you to be resourceful if you’re on a budget. Check out the local acupuncture colleges in your area since they often charge lower rates. Also, call around to various clinics and ask if they would be willing to charge you on a sliding scale (an income based scale). That’s what this poor write did and it saved me the big bucks.
Where Do I Start?
First, identify what part of your body needs acupuncture attention. Acupuncture can address a variety of issues, including hormonal imbalances, muscle aches, athletic injuries, and even digestive ailments. When you go for your initial consultation, make sure to tell your acupuncturist about any and all physical issues that you’re having (even sleep troubles or psychological issues) because, often times, they’re all related in some way or another.
Then ask friends and your general practitioner for referrals. They can help you find the right clinic and acupuncturist for you.
Finally, keep an open mind. This brand of medicine has been practiced for thousands of years and just might be the solution to some of your major physical and mental troubles. Hey, what could it hurt?